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Federal Gun Possession Laws

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Federal Gun Possession Laws

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives citizens the right to possess guns. However, a gun owner, collector, or dealer must follow federal regulations in order to possess any guns.

How Do Federal Laws Differ from State Laws Regarding Guns?

Federal gun laws regulate gun ownership. This include restricting gun ownership to certain types of guns, but they no longer also ban all assault weapons. State gun laws also restrict ownership of certain guns. They also grant the right for citizens to:

  • Carry guns
  • Use guns for self-defense
  • Prohibit employees from firing employees who leave guns in company or personal property

What Is the National Firearms Act?

The National Firearms Act (NFA) is a federal law that places restrictions on the possession or sale of:

  • Machine guns
  • Short-barreled shotguns
  • Silencers

In order to buy any of the aforementioned guns, a person must complete a lengthy background check. Also, they must register the weapon with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (AFT), and buy a tax stamp to the making of the gun or device.

What Is the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act?

The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act is a federal law that prohibits a person from owning a gun for business or personal use if that person is:

  • Convicted of a crime punishable by more than one year in prison
  • Addicted to or has unlawfully used any illegal drugs
  • A fugitive from justice
  • Mentally incompetent
  • Not a U.S. citizen
  • The recipient of a dishonorable discharge from the U.S. military
  • Subject to a valid restraining order against them
  • Convicted of misdemeanor or felony domestic violence

Can I Carry a Gun on Government Property?

No, you may not. Federal law prohibits anyone from carrying a gun on school grounds, in federal buildings, and on federal lands. However, visitors are allowed to possess a loaded gun on certain areas of federal parks if they possess the proper licenses and permits.

Do I Need to Talk to a Lawyer about Federal Gun Possession Laws?

Guns are considered dangerous objects and, therefore, subject to a multitude of complex regulations. It is highly recommended that you talk to a criminal lawyer about any questions you may have about gun sales transactions and gun possession before you buy, sell, or use a gun. 

Photo of page author Taelonnda Sewell

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 10-03-2016 09:58 PM PDT

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